Reflecting on Juneteenth, I am interested in the ways we can continue to connect. Connecting individuals to institutions, knowledge, histories, memories, space, and land. For many of us, COVID-19 may have disconnected some of those synapses in our lives.
As we shift into spring, a profound period of transformation, I cannot help but think how far we have come; and how much farther we have left to go. Throughout this unbelievable year, we have done our part to persevere. We have listened to the stories behind our students and the ways they are transforming and inspiring change through an entire cohort.
This spring, our staff and students stretched in abilities that they never had to in years past. Our staff utilized virtual platforms to host more online events than ever before, supported students throughout the application process, and aided the navigation of matriculation and future planning. Our students embraced the mindset and courage to keep going taking on the challenges of applying to graduate school during a pandemic. We are proud of all of our scholars that weathered an unprecedented graduate admissions year.
As we look ahead, we get ready for another graduate admissions season. Currently, we are evaluating candidates for our 2021 cohort. It is encouraging to see so many individuals interested in continuing to work in education. Especially after the year we have endured.
To that end, it was significant for us to express joy and care to our scholars. This year, we will mail out certificates of completion to our 2020 class and care packages to our 2019 class. To all alumni in our program, please be sure to reach back and let us know how you are doing. We take pride in seeing the change you impart in society and the transformation you achieve each day.
As we enter the new year, we remember the things we carry with us. For the last year, many of us have worn multiple hats, opening our hearts and homes to the unknown.
Here at the IRT, we find support in our community. Our scholars came to us with their hopes, vulnerabilities, and shared goals of educational transformation. It has not been easy as we all work together to work towards our ideals of socially just educational society.
I’m proud of the opportunity to connect with our alumni and share their stories in our program report. We are excited to continue to solicit and support our alumni through the development of our Alumni Committee. Now more than ever, our alumni play a crucial role in supporting our program. By informing us of your successes, challenges, and processes, we can better support our current scholars.
Throughout all the uncertainty, I am also grateful. Grateful to be in a community that works to support each other. Either through PPE distribution or easing nerves while waiting for admissions decisions, I am inspired by how you have shown up for each other.
As I reflect on the work of the summer this fall, I can only consider how much has changed. For the first time, we were not able to meet our students and consortium in person. Nevertheless, our team continues to support our students virtually – holding regular check-ins, office hours, and advising meetings. Our consortium partners are holding virtual sessions with our students – focusing on topics such as navigating financial aid, navigating the application process, and managing mental health and identity. I am excited that we are finding ways to build community throughout these trying times.
Considering community, I participated in the Scholar Strike on September 8-9. It was important for me to spend time learning from scholars within and outside of our community regarding collaboration, activism, and education. It highlighted the emphasis of bringing awareness against racism and all the ways we can use our stations to dismantle it.
As such, I look forward to implementing more programming that would allow us to impact our communities more directly and build the educational futures we wish to see. If you are a faculty member at an institution that is hiring or considering Consortium partnerships, please contact us. If you are alumni and are willing to connect to current Scholars, please reconnect with us! We are excited to have all of you in our IRT community.
Our hearts are with those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, and hurricanes, and those fighting for racial justice and equality.
At the beginning of the year, sitting in the chapel, I reflected on Andover’s theme of the year. Justice. Little did I know that this theme would permeate our work on campus, and also the work of our global community.
Like many of you, I do not know what the future holds. What I do know is that if we trust our foundations, and keep working in the path of social justice, we will be ok. To reach the level of comfort with the unknown, I needed to take a step back and reflect on the theme from the previous year — gratitude.
I am grateful for the staff, students, and supporters of the IRT as we all work together to ensure a more just world. Our most recent matriculating class navigated their unique hurdles in this process, and we are so proud and grateful for the opportunity to support you.
To our newly entered class, thank you for maintaining your faith in the future. We are excited to work with you and learn alongside you.